Scoliosis Exercises – Avoid Those That Can Worsen Your Scoliosis Curves

Rotation Exercises are bad for scoliosis

Scoliosis Exercises Must Be “Pattern Specific”

By: Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.

Scoliosis exercises are supposed to be good for you but did you know that some non-specific exercises for scoliosis can actually make it worse? When it comes to scoliosis it’s important to know that not all therapeutic scoliosis exercises are created equal.

Knowing what kind of scoliosis exercises might be good for your particular scoliosis curvature pattern and which ones may make it worse is crucial if you have scoliosis.

That’s why it’s so important to find a program that provides specific exercises for your scoliosis. It should be taught by a certified professional trained in identifying your particular curve pattern and can provide you with specific exercises to help counteract your type of scoliosis curvature. If not, there is a risk of actually worsening your scoliosis with the wrong type of exercises.

Scoliosis “Specific” Exercises

What are “Specific” Scoliosis Exercises? They are specially designed corrective movements or isometric exercises that help reduce or stabilize particular scoliosis curvatures. They are not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of exercise program.

A scoliosis is reinforced by chronic abnormal movement patterns, so if a movement pattern is detrimental to a particular area of the spine, then stretching vigorously into that pattern will further worsen the imbalance.

Scoliosis therapeutic exercises should be tailored to counteract your particular curvature pattern based on the location and degrees of the curvatures, the pattern of the curvature (typical or atypical), the coronal, are they correcting your sagittal, horizontal balance of your spine and the bony deformity of your spine.

For instance, for someone with a single thoracic scoliosis causing a rib hump a rotational stretch in one direction may be ok but doing that same stretch in the other direction can actually worsen the rib protrusion. Ironically, a stretch in that direction may feel good as you are stretching muscles on the side that are over-strained but in doing so you are re-enforcing the scoliosis curvature pattern.

Scoliosis Exercises are Unilateral

This is why most therapeutic scoliosis exercises that are done bilaterally, (meaning doing the same exercise to stretch the spine the same way on both sides of the body) should be avoided by someone with scoliosis as they have the potential of doing more harm than good. Care should be given to direct the exercises to only work on the side that the muscles have shortened and weakened to help correct the scoliosis imbalance.

Scoliosis "S" Curve

Scoliosis Exercises for a “C” Shaped Scoliosis

A scoliosis curvature is most often a unilateral rotation dysfunction, (in other words the spine twists in a helix in one direction) so the exercises needed to correct it must be done in the opposite direction to counter act the curvatures. When there is a double or “S” shaped Curve with both a thoracic and a lumbar curve while the spine rotates one direction in the thoracic region because of the biomechanics of the spine it also rotates the other direction in the lumbar spine.


Scoliosis Exercises for an “S” Shaped Scoliosis

So someone who has a double major scoliosis curvature (like the one shown here) should avoid a rotational stretch (like the one shown above) all together. While a movement like this may stretch the shortened muscles properly in one area well, because the spine in a double major curve actually rotates in the opposite direction in the other region of the spine rotational scoliosis exercises it will actually worsening that curvature.

Finding Scoliosis Exercises That Are Right For Your Curve Type

The first step in choosing the right corrective scoliosis exercises for yourself is knowing your particular curvature scoliosis pattern. Usually it is necessary to find a professional who is specifically trained in the abnormal three dimensional biomechanics of the scoliosis spine as well as evaluation and treatment of scoliosis that can help you identify it. They also must be extremely familiar with the unilateral application of specialized exercises and how to apply them to help correct your particular scoliosis patterns.

Unless this is done, you run the risk of worsening your scoliosis.

For more information on our Program of Scoliosis Specific Exercises Click Here.


      • Cornelio says

        My daughter has been diagnosed with Idiopathic scoliosis at her lower back with a curve of 18 degrees at age 11 at 12 her curve was still 18 degrees and because of medical Insurance we have to change doctors. her new doctor told us that her curve is 24 degrees is that possible? 6 degrees is a big number for a doctor to misdiagnose, and it is a big number for a curve to increase in one year. so now I am scare. Now the are recomending to ware a brace. any sugestions?
        please responde!

        • says

          I apologize for the delayed reply, but your comments did not forward to my email so I did not know it was here until now. I would suggest that you contact us at (800) 943-1254 so that we can discuss your daughter’s case to find out if she may be a candidate for corrective movement scoliosis treatment with the SpineCor brace and Schroth Method. Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.

  1. Alman says

    I live in Atlanta Georgia. Are there any places that offer this type of treatment for my scoliosis?

    • says

      Yes, we have an office located in Georgia, just outside Atlanta. Please give us a call tomorrow at (800) 943-1254 to review your case to see if our treatments may be right for you before we look at scheduling you for a consultation.

      Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.
      Scoliosis Treatment Alternatives

  2. mahta says

    hi. i have scoliosis. i got a new job recently.i have to move heavy things and i am gonna stand up for 8 hours.and now i have alot of pain in my back and my neck and my arm.i want to ask is that ok for me .i think my scoliosis is worse.thank you for guidense

    • says


      That is hard to say without knowing more about your scoliosis. A recent change to a heavy job can result in back pain even for someone without scoliosis. I would suggest that you see your doctor or come to one of our offices for consultation. Call us at (800) 943-1254 to discuss your case further. You will need some recent x-rays to compare to past ones to determine if your curves are worsening. Then we can have a more intelligent conversation about if you are cut out for that type of work.

      Dr. Diaz

  3. Michelle Pearson says

    Hi. I’m now 42 and have had Scoliosis since forever. Found out through a 5th grade exam that I had it and it was a 27 degree curve. Wore the Milwaukee brace till my 8th grade and then started removing it at school before class cuz I was tremendously picked on due to looking awful with it on. At the time my parents started me with a chiropractor which had my curve down to a “9” in little over a year. Now I have pain almost daily. I went to Iowa City hospital 4 years ago and it was in the upper 50’s. They wanted to do surgery, I opted no on that cuz I’m not fond of my spine being fused. Is there anything that I cam do to help it maybe get better? My toes get numb and my finger tips. I have a inversion table to hang but I don’t like to be upside down. I try to get to the chiropractor but o hardly have the chance. Excuse I know, but I’m a child care provider and its hard to get away. I know it has gotten worse and I’m getting scared. Help please, what do I do?????

    • says


      One of the things many providers don’t seem to understand about scoliosis is that you can often reduce curves very easily in adolescence by adjusting the spine but unless you do something to strengthen the specifically weakened muscles on the insides of the curvature, the scoliosis will simply return since nothing was done to change the body’s movement patterns. Research shows that once a scoliosis curvature gets around 30 degrees gravity really starts to take advantage of it and will cause it to progress, even into adulthood. It’s not a rapid progression, like during adolescences but it can progress at a rate of about a degree per year.

      About half of our patients are adults with scoliosis who come to us because of their pain. If their pain is due to the postural collapse of their scoliosis we are usually able to help them get relief with a combination of the SpineCor scoliosis brace and Nu-Schroth scoliosis exercises. Don’t take my word for it, listen to what our patients have to say on our YouTube Channel.

      Give me a call at (800) 943-1254 so we can discuss in greater detail your case of scoliosis so we can find out if our treatment programs may be able to help you too.

  4. Anita says

    hi i’m 25 years old and 4 years ago i found out i had scoliosis after falling in work. apparently i had it for a long time but only after the fall i started to get really bad pains. i went to therapy for a while then stopped because it was not working. i have it in the upper part of my back. any suggestions will be welcomed.

    • says


      I would suggest that you give us a call at (800) 942-1254 for a Free Phone Consult to discuss your case of scoliosis in more detail to determine which of our treatments may be right for you. About half of our patients are adults that get excellent results (See over 70 of our patients of all different ages talking about their experience with our treatment programs on our YouTube Channel) so chances are we can help you too.

      Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.
      Scoliosis Treatment Alternatives

  5. prashant says

    radiographs of lumbo sacral spine reveal mild dextroscoliosis in the lumbar spine. lumbarisation of s1 vertebra with reduction in the s1-2 intervertebral disc space and end plate sclerotic changes

    dear sir plz help me i am suffering from back problem the pain comes to my leg i need your help i am wating for replay my mobile no is 00971 0556686310

    • says


      I am getting on a flight right now but I would suggest that you call us at (800) 943-1254 and speak to one of our other doctors about your case to see if one of our treatments is right for you. There is no charge for this. Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.

  6. Ankush Saxena says

    Dear Sir,

    This is Ankush Saxena from Delhi India. I am suffering from Scoliosis since birth. Going through the treatment in india near Delhi. I would also like to connect with you for getting help in my treatment. Please let me know as how can we take it forward and if any good contact in India of yours please let me know. Rest I would like to get updates and what exercises I need to do and not do in case of scoliosis. Also please let me know what type of Scoliosis I am having as less information about that and what can be the best treatment in my case. I can forward you my Xrays and any other details you required also on email. In case of chat we can connect on skype, yahoo, gmail facebook please let me know.

  7. says

    hello. i am 14 years old and i have scoliosis it is 40 degrees and in my country there is not any professional doctor in my to tell me what to do?

    • says

      I would suggest you have your parents contact us and hopefully we can help them find you a specialist in a country near you. Please have them call us at (800) 943-1254 so we can go over your case of scoliosis.

  8. says

    hello. i am 14 years old and i have scoliosis it is 40 degrees and in my country there is not any professional doctor in my to tell me what to do?

  9. jaimin patel says

    hello,my sister has exactly 40 degree curve.and i am from india.any kind of treatment is not available plz tell me the excersise pattern and also send the video for this.

  10. Johanna says

    I am wondering how often it is ok to get xrays of my back. The doctor at Clear Scoliosis was very conservative and took as few as possible, however, leading up to the visit I had other xrays taken and not long before that had several xrays to determine if I was ready for surgery due to pain at that time. Now I visit a chiropractor in town who took x rays nearly a year ago and he wants to take more. Is this all too much? Will it effect my spinal health?
    I have a 40 degree thoracic curve in T7and T8. Improved 9 degrees by the Clear Scoliosis treatment. I am 57 years old. I took Bikram yoga about 2 years after my son was born and then started noticing my right rib sticking out more than usual. I starting worrying about the twisting pose and eventually quit. It felt good as you mention above and I want to go back to yoga but I worry about the twisting pose which side should I NOT twist to?
    I appreciate your response. Johanna in St Louis, MO

    • says


      Given your scoliosis taking x-rays on an annual basis is certainly within the safe level of radiation exposure. It will not affect your spine. The greatest worry with radiation is reproductive tissues and since I am assuming you are not likely to have any further children there is no problem with the level of x-ray you describe.

      I can’t comment on your twisting as I would need to know more about your curve pattern and the type of movement you are concerned about but in general you want to avoid any rotation, especially if ones that cause further rotation back of your rib hump.

      Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.
      Scoliosis Treatment Alternatives

  11. Siti says

    I have approximately 40 deg thora-columbar scoliosis, adult, no pain. Is surgery recommended? Can Schroth Method correct the curve?

  12. jada lavar says

    I am 15 I just turned on the first of October…and I was diagnosed with scoliosis in August when I was 11 turning 12! I didn’t know til I went to the hospital with a bad fever and had chest and back pain. J was wondering I am a cheerleader and I do my back handsprings and stuff and it hurts my back..and I seem to be more crukit than I was..Is there exercises I can do?

    • says

      Yes. There are exercises you can do to stabilize your spin. There are called the Schroth Method. If you are inter then please give us a call at (800) 943-1254 for a Free Phone Consult.

  13. cynthia says

    Hello .. Few week ago i found out my daught 11 years old have scoliosis .. Today we went to the hospital nd find out her spind is in 48 degree .. Doctor told us if get over 50 she will need surgery .. But my question is , is ok to do surgery soon or wait for her to stop growing nd then do the surgery? My other questoin , if she do surgery now , after the surgery she will hv to use the brace until she stop growing?

  14. Maisa says

    Hello Dr.
    My daughter is 14 years old. She hit pubirty when she was 11. Last year we discovered Scoliosis and we were told to watch and observe because she was in a gray area that she may not grow any further. Her Scoliosis was first 40 degress (different dr. came back with different measurements) but in anycase, after 8 months, here Scoliosis progressed and she measured 50 degress. All Dr. I have seen recommended surgery.

    I’m very worried and scared because of what I have been reading about the surgery. I came across your website.

    There is a lot of material on the web and it gets confusing especially when this is related to someone you love

    Will this method wrok for my daughter? will she need to do these exercises for the rest of her life? What is her future like?

    Thank you in advance

    • says

      Maisa, We have helped many girls your daughter’s age avoid scoliosis surgery so chances are we can help her too. Please give us a call at (800) 943-1254 for a Free Phone Consult.

      Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.

  15. Benny says

    I’ve had three surgeries for my scoliosis, the end result was the bone fusion. It’s been 7 years since the surgery and now I’m getting really bad back pains in the scar areas where the metal rods were placed is this normal? Pains have been going on for 4-5 months. I’d say 7-8/10 pain scale. Also what do you suggest

    • says


      It’s difficult to say without knowing more. Please give us a call at (800) 943-1254 for a Free Phone Consult with one of our doctors so that they can discuss your case in more detail to find out what type of treatment may be best for you. Dr. Brett Diaz, D.C.

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